Quality vs. Quantity: Skills Matter

skills2It may seem like I focus often on movement quality.  I DO! It provides the foundation and support to allow you to function at the level you want.  The more active and dynamic you would like to be, the better you need to move.  So, beyond the idea of moving well, everyone wants to know when can they do what they want to do…that is what everyone really wants, right?  The idea is that people want advice so that when they are ready to do something active, they are doing something that 1) is beneficial for their health 2) they enjoy doing  3) that won’t result in pain during or after.

Group of active children, hand drawn silhouettes of kids playingMore often, people care about activities of in the realm of fitness and sports = strength, endurance, speed, power, performance, etc.   Those activities lend themselves to the need to develop beyond basic movement patterns.  This is what I would now call “skill.”  Just because you move your body effectively does not automatically translate into being able to hit a golf ball or make a free throw.  The only way to gain the motor patterning/learning required to acquire a skill or set of skills like that is to practice.  So, when can you begin to lift, jump, squat, kneel, roll, etc. (which are all components of things required to run, throw, kick, cut/plant, tackle, dance…which are all the building blocks of the skills necessary to begin the actual activity – that of golf, tennis, basketball, weight lifting, Zumba, skiing)?

The answer:  Once you have developed appropriate movement abilities.  Now, it is imperative that you gain efficiency.  Move well, basically — fundamental mobility and stability — then you can work towards greater physical challenges needed in a given activity like those listed above.

inefficiencySo, can you even pick up a ball before you move well?  Of course!  Maybe you really enjoy basketball.  There is nothing wrong with working on your dribbling, free throws, set shots, etc. while you are building the physical capacity and movement integrity to actually compete – run, jump, plant, cut, pivot, tolerate physical contact, endurance.  Go ahead, have fun with the sport/activity you love…just don’t invest hours into practicing beyond your physical abilities to practice correctly.  Just because you are working hard at something, does not mean you are doing it correctly.  You are asking to be injured/re-injured if you are moving compensatorily or inefficiently.

I hope this all makes sense.  I will be continuing to write in future posts about ways to explore and find foundational movements your body should be able to execute.  Until then, continue to work on moving well and not into pain!